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Special Report With Bret Baier

News/Business. Bret Baier. The latest news from inside the Beltway. New.

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Afghanistan 20, Obama 6, Texas 6, Chicago 6, Fox News 6, Perry 4, U.s. 4, Steve 4, Whitehouse 3, Medicare 3, Liberty Medical 3, Hutchinson 3, Washington 3, America 3, Us 3, China 3, Iraq 3, Mr. Obama 2, Lipitor 2, Barbara Lee 2,
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  FOX News    Special Report With Bret Baier    News/Business. Bret Baier. The  
   latest news from inside the Beltway. New.  

    August 17, 2009
    6:00 - 7:00pm EDT  

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any administration can raise taxes and the next administration can lower taxes. when it comes to healthcare, once this goes through, it will never go back. glenn: america, from new york, good night. [captioning made possible by fox news channel] captioned by the national captioning institute ---www.ncicap.org--- bret: next on "special report" big brother may not be watching as closely. we will tell you about new white house moves to change the way it compiles its e-mail lists. the list of biggest identity theft cases just got a new clubhouse leader. we'll have details of a huge case that is unfolding tonight and explain how it could affect you, and you know it as the public option and it has been a major part of the healthcare reform debate. now rumblings that it may go away, and the battle to secure afghanistan's polling places just three days ahead of a crucial election. all that, plus the all-star panel, right here, right now.
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welcome to washington. i'm bret baier. after nearly a week of several questions and not many answers, there are significant developments tonight on the white house e-mail front. senior white house correspondent major garrett, who broke the story of regular citizens ending up on a white house e-mail list, reports on what is being done to fix it. >> change, the watch word of the obama campaign and white house, now applies to the president's website. today, two significant alterations, the first the apparent dismantling of flag at whitehouse.gov where americans were encouraged to report fishy or erroneous healthcare comments. starting today, e-mails to flag bounced back with an error message indicating the website was no longer operational. the american civil liberties union has criticized flag. >> if the government is gathering political views of americans an forwarding them on to the government, knowing that the americans didn't give permission for their views to be shared, that is very troubling under the
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first amendment. it raises the potential for abuse, and it has a chilling effect on people's willingness to speak. >> the second changed a dresses the unwanted e-mail issue. if someone doesn't want the white house e-mails they can now opt out. also, a read-in identifier must be billed out to verify intent. these changes came out after the white house acknowledged late sunday that this e-mail on healthcare from david axelrod was sent to hundreds, perhaps thousands of americans without permission. the white house said "we have no interest in e-mailing anyone who does not want to receive an e-mail. if an individual received an e-mail because someone else or a group signed them up or forwarded the e-mail, we hope they were not too inconvenienced. >> i think this situation actually exemplifies our lack of privacy control that we have here in the u.s.. >> fox has found people who received white house e-mails and suspect but do not know that their names come from gov
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delivery that distributes government e-mails or freedom works, a grassroots operation. third party groups can pour their membership lists on to a website. >> that doesn't mean that someone who has one of these lists can't write a little piece of software or a little script that automates the process so that they use the one-time input of an e-mail form, but they run their entire list through it. >> to try to stop that, the white house added what is known in internet lingo as a katcha, squiggly letters that a website adds so it knows it is dealing with a human, not a website program. they call in is significant internet snafu. >> they are making it possible so people don't misuse whitehouse.gov and from that point they failed, so the explanation is not thorough, and in my view, the blame is not placed where it should be. they should look in the mirror instead of pointing the finger
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at third parties. >> the third-party argument from the white house is a theory r they don't have actual proof that third parties did it but did some internet snooping over the weekend and believe it is one of a likely consequence. the white house said that it does not purchase, upload or merge from any other lists, meaning from service providers or outside groups. also, the white house is preparing a statement just now announcing the end of flag at whitehouse.gov. when that statement arrives, we will bring it to you. bret: major, thank you. the justice department has indicted three people in what officials believe is the largest hacking and identity theft caser arer prosecuted, so could you be affected? steve centanni is here with details, steve, should consumers be worried about this? >> there is a potential for trouble. some 130 million credit card numbers and debit card numbers were hacked from corporate computers with the intention of selling the information. the indictment, unsealed today in new jersey, charges
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28-year-old albert gonzalez of miami and two russian cocon spirs tore -- conspirators who are not named. gonzalez used to help the c.i.a. agency hunt hackers and is awaiting tile in a previous case and in jail. if he is convicted, he could face up to 35 years in prison. bret: what are officials saying about how the hackers allegedly operateed? >> the justice department said they ran surveillance on check out locations owned by five different corporations including 7/eleven stores and hanford's and then hacked into the company by shipping past the fire walls in the network and are accused of installing so-called sniffers that keeps track of new transactions. very sophisticated, bret. bret: this is one we will follow. steve, thank you. there appear to be cracks in the administration's healthcare reform armor when it comes to what has euphemisticly been referred to as the public option.
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translation, at least one plan, including government-run health insurance. correspond correspondent shannon bream reports that all signs from the white house indicates that it could be a dropout of the debate. >> will the white house accept a healthcare reform package that will not include a public option? the answer kathleen sebelius gave was a bit more complex. >> that is not the essential element. >> does that statement signal a change of course for the obama administration? here is what the president said just last month. >> any plan i sign must include an insurance exchange, a one-stop shopping marketplace, including a public option to increase competition and keep insurance companies honest. >> fast forward to this weekend's town hall meeting in gand junction, colorado when a college student asked mr. obama how private insurers will be able to compete against the government entity that won't have to worry about turning a profit. >> the public option, whether we have it or don't have it is
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not the entirety of healthcare reform. this is just one sliver of it, one aspect of it. >> but it is an aspect many on the left are run willing to surrender. congresswoman barbara lee who chairs the congressional black caucus had this reaction, quote. "recent comments by obama administration officials regarding health reform and public options are deeply troubling. any bill without a public health insurance line like medicare is not health reform. on the senate side, pushback was will also swiflt. senator russ feingold said, quote, "without a public option, i don't see how we will bring real change to a system that has made good healthcare a privilege for those who can afford it," but one of feingold's democratic colleagues, kent conrad who sits on the finance committee and has been negotiating as a member of the bipartisan gang of six, warned that the democrats intent on the public option are in for a reality check. >> the fact of the matter is there are not the votes in the united states senate for the
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public option. there never have been, so to continue to chase that rabbit, i think, is just a wasted effort. >> but not all public option proponents are convinced the battle is over. >> in the end, the republicans are not going to have a single vote for this, no matter what the democrats try to concede and everybody is going to understand if you are going to do this, you might as well do it right and the public option will be in the bill when the president signed it in december. >> today nancy pelosi noted that all three draft bills in the house contain the provision. other house democrats also came forward urging the president to, quote, stand firm on the public option, and warning that if he cuts it in order to win senate votes, he stands to lose dozens in the house. bret. bret: interesting fall. >> it will be. bret: thank you. president obama said today that u.s. forces are working to secure polling places in afghanistan so that afghans can decide their own future in elections thursday. national security correspondent jennifer given tells us the clock is working against the troops you with
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with three days left into the afghan election, marines are trying to clear the area of taliban insurgents so afghans can vote. 10% of the voting stations may be too dangerous to open. 40% of the polling areas remain under taliban control. >> one person comes out to vote in the area, then that will be a success. >> p president obama told the veterans of foreign wars today that military force alone will not win this war, and he prepared the american people for a long fight against the insurgency. >> we won't defeat them overnight. this will not be quick nor easy. >> but president obama would not say how he planned to care i out the war if he would send more troops. >> i think we have to expect, if we decide to wage this war, that it's going to go on for a long time, another five to ten
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years, certainly, at least. >> steven bidel was one of a dozen experts who served on general mccrystal's afghan assessment team. their report was put on hold by the pentagon until after the afghan election. >> there is a school of thought that says that afghanistan is the gave ward of empires, that it is -- afghanistan is the graveyard of empires and it is impossible to win over insurgencies there. i think that is overstated. >> the mujahideen had over 100,000 fighters and the taliban, an estimated 10,000 to 20,000 and their brutal form of government failed once afghan leaders say president obama's plan won't succeed without u.s. troops being upped. >> we may only be able to do something too little too late. >> president obama wants his commanders and the state department to focus on diplomacy, good government and
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governance. at the pentagon, jennifer griffin, fox news. bret: why would special report viewers care about a dancing reality show? we'll tell you a little later, and just how bad will unemployment get? a prediction coming up next. of beef tenderloin... and, ooh, rotisserie chicken. yes, you do. [ barks ] yeah. you're so special, you deserve a very special dog food. [ woman ] introducing chef michael's canine creations. the deliciously different way to serve up your love at mealtime. chef-inspired. dog-desired. chef michael's canine creations.
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bret: 73 years ago today, the first unemployment check was presented to a wisconsin man. it was for $15. today, 9 million people are getting considerably larger checks. how much longer will the nation's unemployment epidemic go on? james rosen reports on a chilling forecast. >> 10% of americans unemployed all through 2011, three years after, that the jobless rate slashed to 8% and still floating above 6% a decade from now. that's the grim picture of a jobless recovery from the current recession forecast in a report by an economist and researcher at the federal reserve bank in kansas city. >> this is the debate going on
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in economics today. will we get a nice bounce or are we stuck in a period of slow, muted recovery, particularly in labor markets? i tend to agree with the authors that we had will come out struggling in a rocky recovery way. >> the current downturn ranks along the worst postwar recessions, the battle days of the nixon-ford era and the president's first two years in office. both recessions ended with sharp drops in unemployment within a year's time, but it is the milder recessions of 1991 and 2001, both shorter in length but both followed by jobless recoveries that better predict what lies ahead today. why? greater use of temp workers and outsourced labor in the last two decades n this chart, the smaller blue portion represents the percentage of the workforce laid off temporarily. the yellow portion shows the permanently laided off workers, an an an imbalance that has only grown over time and never been worse than now.
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on top of all that looms the banking crisis. >> it used to be that as you were coming out of recession that companies could go back to the short-term financing that they used to use to pay payrolls, and now they cannot do that because of the credit market situation we're n >> the authors also studied five major foreign economies and that comparison found that in spain, norway, finland, sweden and japan, most recently, want 0 to add a banking crisis to the mix, high unemployment sticks around even after a recession has ended. in washington, james rosen, fox news. bret: we have a correction to a story that ran on "special report" friday. we said that the recession during the george w. bush presidency lasted nearly five years. the national bureau of economic research says the bush recession ran from march to november of 2001, lasting eight months. it was a tough day on wall street. the dow fell 186 points. the s&p 500 lost 24 1/3, and
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nasdaq gave back 54. pennsylvania democratic congressman joe sestak is asking governor owe balm obama to interseen because only 2% of the dealers have been reimbursed in the cash to clunkers, and four out of five applications are rejected because of oversights. an oklahoma dealer has come up with a unique way to get rid of the clunkers. he used a monster truck to flatten them. the government says they must be crushed but doesn't say how. the edmonds.com car buying guide says the cash for clunkers program is driving prices up for auto buyers. in chicago, the city's budget deficit is up so high that today was an unpaid holiday for most city workers. steve brown reports on the latest example of a growing trend for cities downing in red ink. >> oh, it's closed today. >> plus, the city garbage was not picked up, and city hall
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was shut down, minus police and fire, the city of chicago observed a reduced service day, closing most of the city government down for a day to save money. >> this is the greatest deficit the city of chicago has faced, that we have seen probably in at least a decade or more, and these are the biggest challenges we have seen for the city of chicago. >> mayor richard daley admits the financial picture is not a pretty one, a projected revenue shortfall of $300 million, furloughing city union workers for three days and non-union workers for up to thee weeks could save the city $34 million. >> i think some other big cities are going to be looking at chicago and saying our turn next. >> the city of denver furloughed its workers for 2 days already this year. next month, dallas will send many of its workers home without pay for a second day. >> the short-term solution, the furlough days, and asking employees to take unpaid holidays, are rameed at reducing the immediate budget
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pressure, but they don't structurally fix your financial challenge. >> the only reason for unions to sign on with furloughs is to avoid something worse -- layoffs. >> nobody likes laying off. i mean, we're trying to get illinois' government budget in balance. sometimes the layoffs are the only option you have under the union contract. >> some city union workers have noticed that not everyone in city government is sharing their pain n a front page article in the sunday ""chicago tribune,"" an article details ow city aldermen have spent more on luxury limos and parking spaces in downtown chicago and how one alderman hired his mom. while most of city government and city services are shut down for a day, with more days like these to come. in chicago, steve brown, fox news. bret: chinese parents storm a smelting plant that they say has put their lives and the lives of their children at
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risk, next. naing onon ud r.
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we have a winner! yes! bret: new news around the world, a truck bomb exploded in pakistan, and 7 people died including thee children. police say the driver of that truck was handed a package marked "medicine," which later exploded. an accident at russia he's largest hydroelectric plant has left at least ten workers dead. the blast at the facility in southern siberia was triggered when a transformer exploded during repair work. an engine room flooded, trapping dozens of people. as many as 65 people are still missing. in china, outraged parents have stormed an industrial facility that is allegedly responsible for making hundreds of children sick. correspondent amy kellogg has the story. >> this lead and sink plant
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was closed last week and attacked by people who blamed it for the lead poisoning of four out of every five children in two northwest chinese villages. many of the children were so ill, they have been hospitalized. in 2004, 100 families near the plant were relocated and others were supposed to be moved but the county government is runing behind schedule. this is the latest pollution hot spot in the industrial powerhouse of china, which, according to the world bank, has 20 of the world's 30 most polluted cities. >> they have fairly strict environmental regulations but once it filters down to the local level, no one tries to enforce it, because the imperative is that you want growth. >> lax environmental regulation and tox is toxicity is not a worry just for the chinese. the united states is the biggest importer of chinese goods n2007, mattel was forced to recall millions of toys made in china that contained
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lead or had magnets that were choking hazards. in 2008, tainted baby formula that led to the death of 4 chinese babies an sickened over 60,000 there, sparked a global recall of chinese dairy products. the recent violence at the smelting plant is apparently not unusual. >> there are a lot of plants where workers have occupied room0s are blocked roads out of resentment out of lack of change. the problem is that they feel that the government isn't doing enough to help the poorer people, and they don't want to sit back and be damaged by pollution or by rising costs without letting the government know. >> of the protests which spring up with ever-greater frequency, more than have to deal with the environment or land seizures, according to analysts who also say that the chinese government, concerned about social stability, is forced to take the environment and these protests more seriously. in london, amy kellogg, fox news. bret: a guy with plenty of
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political moves will be dancing for a whole new set of voters, starting next month. that's coming up next on the grapevine.
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critical of the president's awarding the medal of freedom to former u.n. rights commissioner mary robinson, telling "the jerusalem post" that "i am disappointed in obama's policies. some of the steps he has taken, like giving the medal to mary robinson, are bror der line anti-semitic." there is said to be growing israeli dissatisfaction with the president's chief of staff. rahm emanuel is a jew with deep ties to israel, nirnlly seen as a tie to the white house but a pollster tells politico that the american pressure on israel to stop building new settle manies has led israelis to think emanuel is giving obama his kosher stamp of approval to to be tough on israel when they thought he was going to be there to explain our position." president obama arrived later this month for his family's vacation on martha's vinyard, he will be greeted by a familiar face.
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cindy sheehan, the anti-war protestor, received considerable media coverage while she camped outside of george w. bush's ranch to protest the wars in afghanistan and iraq. we will wait and see how much attention she receives protesting mr. obama's policies in the vineyards. and this year's edition of "dancing with the stars" will have a beltway connection. tom the hammer delay is part of the cast and has been working out with a personal trainer, we're told, to get ready. democratic congressman lori dugman said "you can be sure he won't be afraid to step on a few toes. his appearance is understandable, since bush and cheney left town, he hasn't had much fun." and another comment from dennis miller says "as a former politician, he'll no doubt be able to dance around
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everyone." president obama has promised not to undercut medicare as he pushes for healthcare, but anita vogel reports on the tug of war over medicare advantage. >> i can truthfully say if it wasn't for them, i would not be here today. >> 70-year-old patricia long and 82-year-old maurice ingleman are cranker is survivors, and both say having medicare advantage saved their lives. >> there would be a nurse and a doctor coming in two and thee times a week, checking on me, making sure everything was healing right. >> it is far more personal -- that is to say, a patient such as myself was assigned, and they won, practically, with a human being. >> unlike medicare, medicare advantage is administered by insurance companies, not the government, and case managers are assigned to everyone enrolled to guide seniors like patricia and maurice through what can be a confusing maze
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of medical options. >> we help them get their doctors' appointments, get them through their treatments and really at the same time optimizing their performance and staut us so that they don't end up in the hospital where the care gets really expensive. >> another program, medicare advantage, has no outof pocket cost to members but costs taxpayers 14% more, a difference that the president says we cannot afford. >> it is a giveaway of $177 billion. >> president obama wants to eliminate medicare advantage to save the government that amount over ten years but some experts say because of its emphasis on health monitoring and preventative care, medicare advantage is actually cheaper in the long run. >> why not have the man compete against themselves and against traditional medicare unless the lowest cost plan that still meets all the environment requirements that we have with medicare and let
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the lowest cost plan win. >> new insurance research found that medicare patients ended up in the emergency room 27% less often than medicare recipients but president obama insists on terminating the program. in spite of intense lobbying from seniors, some committees are looking at significant cuts as well. in los angeles, anita vogel, fox news. bret: the obama administration filed court papers today claiming that the defense of marriage act discriminates against gays, even as justice department lawyers are defending the law. that defense to a lawsuit filed by a gay couple in california has angered gay activists who say the president is backtracking on a campaign promise to repeal the law. the campaign rhetoric is already hot in the state of texas in the governor's race there. republican senator kay bailey hutchinson kicked off her five-day announcement tour by going right after the incumbent. carl cameron is in the capital city of austin.
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>> i'm running for governor because i believe in texas. >> it begins what is already one of the nastiest g.o.p. fights of 201. kate bailey hutchinson, senior senator from texas, launched her bid to oust the longest serving governor, fellow republican rick perry. >> after ten years of governance under rick perry, where are we? property taxes, highest in the country, state debt, doubled. >> a senator for 16 years, hutchinson got a sparse turnout at her former high school. the g.o.p. primary is in march. she will leave the senate this fall to campaign full-time. perry issued a blistering counterattack, quote "she has violated, ignored and flip-flopped on every promise she made to voters and her career has been characterized by per perpetuating excessive pork barrel spending and driving our nation's economy and the republican party's future into the ground." >> we will not be ignored! >> perry has been governor
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since 2000. he is popular among anti-tax pea party groups an conservatives who vote in g.o.p. primaries. he has sim pa sympathized from teasm ans who want to secede and compared texas violence on the border to israeli problems with the palestinians. perry wants rower is vus wade overturned. the senator supports stem cell research and perry does not. hutchinson says he turns off republican and minority and women voters. >> our republican party has been shrinking over the last few years in texas. now we're in danger of losing the texas house. i won't stand for t i want the republican party to go. i want it to win. i want it to be wore worthy of governing. >> hutchinson voted for the bank bailout program known as tarp and today told fox tus she is prepared to filibuster the healthcare reform bill in the u.s. senate.
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carl cameron, fox news. bret: so has the p public forced an end to the public option? we'll ask the fox all-stars when we come back. grill: i mean...wow! hey! that looks great. grill: and there's no need to discuss it further. in fact, you can buff most of that out. just give it a once-over with a wet paper towel...hee, hee grill: ok, good talking to you... anncr: accidents are bad. anncr: but geico's good. ding! with 24-hour claims service. i had a heart attack at 57. my doctor told me i should've been... doing more for my high cholesterol. what was i thinking? but now i trust my heart to lipitor. when diet and exercise are not enough, adding lipitor may help. unlike some other cholesterol lowering medications, lipitor is fda approved to reduce the risk... of heart attack, stroke,
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reading about washington these days... i gotta ask, what's in it for me? i'm not looking for a bailout, just a good paying job. that's why i like this clean energy idea. now that works for our whole family. for the kids, a better environment. for my wife, who commutes, no more gettin' jerked around on gas prices... and for me, well, it wouldn't be so bad if this breadwinner brought home a little more bread. repower america. i hope our senators are listening.
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>> the public option, whether we have it or don't have it, is not the entirety of healthcare reform. this is just one sliver of it, one aspect of it. >> the fact of the matter is there are not the votes in the united states senate for the public option. there never have been, so to continue to chase that rabbit, i think, is just a wasted effort. bret: well, president obama at one time said it was crucial, imperative that a public option government-run health insurance, at least one plan included on the table, be a part of whatever comes out of congress. now there is some question about that. his health and human services secretary this weekend, asked about the public option said this "what is important is
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choice and competition. i'm convinced at the end of the day, the plan will have both of that, but that public option is not the essential element." that is not sitting well with the left. representative barbara lee, the chairwoman of the congressional black caucus called this talk troubling and said any bill without a public insurance health insurance plan like medicare is not health reform. what is the status of all of this? let's bring in our panel. steve hayes for "the weekly standard", a.b. stoddard of "the hill" and syndicated columnist, charles krauthammer. a.b. you said last week that they need to get it out on the table and leave the public option s this it? >> this is the white house's way of walking us back. they squandered half of august. president obama has held town halls defending what is basically indefensible within his party and many of the purple states an conservative districts that democrats won from republicans, and he's actually lost a lot of time. the problem is the house
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leadership is going to stick with this plan. from my conversations today, they have more liberals than conservatives. they are going to hope that they can come back and pass a bill on the house floor that contains the public option, knowing it's not going to make it into the law, and ultimately, i think president obama should have done what he and his administration this weekend but only sooner. bret: is this a cat and mouse game, charles, with symantecs? are we just seeing the end result now that they will pull it off the table? >> it is a full retreat. look, obama had wanted the public option a lot because it is the road to a government-run system, which is what, in his heart, he wants, and he wanted to have planted it in his presence and his presidency and it wouldn't become government run until the very end. it wouldn't have had its major effect until perhaps after his presidency, but he would have been known as the father of national healthcare, but he's not going to get it and he
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knows it. he knew it early, but he hung on because it would be a bargaining chip when he goes for the minimal plan, which would be health insurance reform, where he slaps a lot of restrictions on the insurance companies when there are no pre-conditions, et cetera, and in return, he would offer to drop the public option. that's why he wanted to hang on until the end. the reason he had to drop it now is because of the town halls and the public rebellion. it is because of the reaction, the angry agitated, educated reactions, of people against the public option, understanding that it is a way to national healthcare, that it became a distraction and a liability and if you're going to drop it any way, he had to drop it now. it takes away his leverage with negotiations in the end with insurance companies. bret: steve. >> i don't agree with charles, if i'm understanding him correctly, that he knew he would have to drop this and he saved it to be a bargaining chip. i think that he declared that
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this must be in the bill. we want this in the bill, as recently as a month ago. i think he did that because he may have had in the back of his mind this idea that it could be a bargaining chip. i think he did it because he really wanted it and he thought he could get it, because he is barack obama. his polls were high. they had started to slip but hey hadn't sort of tanked the way we have seen them do in the past six weeks. i think he is in a tough, tough spot right now with the left of his party protesting and protesting loudly, as we saw earlier in the show, and realists, i think, like senator conrad saying there just aren't the votes to this. >> go ahead and respond. >> look, as long as it was in congress and behind closed doors and in negotiations, he could have hung on until the end. it is when it became -- when congress adjourned and all of this exploded in the public and it became a national issue, and a huge liability and a drag on his own popularity, that's when he understood it had to go, and yet he hung on for a couple of weeks longer than he should
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have, until he understood he had to cut his losses, because it was destroying the rest of the plan. bret: when you have the left coming out and saying if the public option is not there, that this is not healthcare reform, this isn't reform. howard dean, you have representative lee, and you have others out there now with very declared statements, whatever comes out of congress, and if he signs something and it actually gets passed, will it be less of a victory for this white house? >> i don't think so. if they don't infuriate the middle, and take a devastating hit in the midterm elections, if they pass incremental insurance reform, that actually reigns in the industry in -- reins in the industry in ways that most of the public desires and no pre-existing conditions will preclude you from coverage, et cetera, more affordability it if you lose your job, every one of us who gets a cancer
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diagnosis if we lose our job, we're in peril in this system today. everyone knows that. what members of congress wanted in the democratic party is something to pass. the problem is the liberals have seen the debate shift. it is now targeting the insured. we know now the bank is broken. the party sees that it can no longer cover the uninsured, and so they're shifting to restrict the industry an regulate insurance. something is better than nothing, but liberals are set to kill healthcare reform if they talk in ways we heard them today. congressman wiemer from new york, howard dean, former governor from vermont, everyone saying well, i want to be onboard but i can't without a public option. >> no chance. liberals won't kill healthcare reform. they're talking a big game now because they're disappointed. the white house is still pandering to him trood. robert gibbs insisted that there was no change in the language between the obvious changes of what they were saying a month ago and what
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they are saying now. no, no, there is no change. they are cognizant of the political ram fiks of trying to do what they are doing now.ll healthcare. >> the reason liberals are so devastated is because this was an opportunity to slip national healthcare through at a time when americans are anxious. if you have the incremental stuff, that's going to happen. when you have health insurance reform, when everyone holds on to their insurance and you can't be denied, if that is passed, it will eliminate all the anxiety and most of the disappointment with the current system, and that means they will never have national healthcare, so the left understands that it is now or never, and it's going to be never. bret: president obama talks about this week's crucial afghanistan election and taliban efforts to disrupt it. we'll find out what the panel expects, next. discover new seafood creations inspired from around the country.
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>> this will not be quick nor easy, but we must never forget, this is not a war of choice. this is a war of necessity. those who attacked america on 9/11 are plotting to dough so again f left unchecked, the taliban insurgency will mean a larger safe haven from which el cad day -- el cade da would plot to kill more americans. this is not only a war worth fighting, this is fundamental to the defense of our people. bret: the president speaking to the v.f.w. convention in phoenix, arizona today talking about afghanistan and the situation there as that country gets ready for national elections this thursday. we're back with our panel. steve, what about the situation there ahead of these elections? some of the places in the south, they're saying they won't even have ballot boxes
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because it is so dangerous. >> there are two problems potentially that we're looking at with the elections. one is security, and two is what might happen because people are concerned about this. if you have vast numbers of afghans who don't show up, what does that do to the legitimacy of the elections afterward looking back? bret: the president touched on it a lot today, in his speech about how this war is a necessity, and portrayed it as the good war as we've talked about before on this panel what is your take on what he said and what the administration is doing? >> he has to make a case. he has doubled the amount of troop levels since he came into office. we expect another increase when general mcchrystal's report comes in. it will be an extremely tough sell on capitol hill with his own party. public support for this war is waning. he will continue to make the case it is a winnable war, but that is a huge debate right now. it really looks like this is going to become his iraq war, where the public was onboard
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for that one, but they are wrar weary and the context now is an extremely anxious country, broken, jobless, in deficit, in debt, and really, i think, those numbers on the war will continue to move downward, and i think it's an uphill battle for him to earn more -- to get a hold of more resources and more support for that war. bret: so your sense is there is a deadline on capitol hill for how long he has in afghanistan? >> right. the window is closing. >> i think obama understands that. that's why if you watch and listen to him in the speech he gave today to the v.f.w. and if you listen carefully, he is already beginning a tactical retreat. when we heard in that clip he talked about defending us against al qaeda, he defines the word afghanistan in terms of al qaeda, not afghanistan, and later in the speech, he talks about the reason that we're in afghanistan is to decrease the area of taliban control, thus decreasing the
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area in which al qaeda has freedom of action f you look at the war that way, and your intention is to defeat al qaeda -- he used the words dismantle and defeat al qaeda, then what you're arguing in favor of is a war in afghanistan which is a war of containment, against expansion of the taliban, and that is a minimalist war, which he could sustain. now, a year -- in a year, the democrats in congress will be in revolt. he will have to defend even that minimalist war. he is not talking about remaking the country, establishing a democracy or anything of that sort. bret: but president bush would have said something like this to present a safe haveen in afghanistan and i remember points in his speeches where he made that point. >> except early on when we had the swift victory and won astonishingly quickly with very few casualties an defeated the taliban and got them out of power t looks as
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if we might be able to remake afghanistan and hold it as an entity and as a democracy. with the resurgents in the insurgency and in strength, we're beginning to understand it is not a country unlike iraq that we can remake and put together. iraq had been a country. afghanistan never was. bret: steve, will he run into problems with what he has previously said about the iraq war overlaying on top of what he is facing in the afghanistan war? >> yes, to a certain extent, i think he will. as you said, we have talked about afghanistan being the good war. i think he will run into more problems with afghanistan as afghanistan. if he retreats now, it will look like all of his campaign rhetoric was totally opportunistic, that he wanted to unas a national security candidate, but didn't want to run on iraq, because he opposed it so strongly, and that will, in retrospect, make him look opportunistic if he
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tries to back out or even goes sort of halfway on afghanistan now. bret: that's it for the panel. stay tuned to see the latest example of a company cutting corners during tough times. . ♪ for just nine dollars, you can get them shoes from names like danskin now and starter. ♪ select eyeglass frames are just $9 at walmart -- .
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as affordable as possible. and the words "pre-existing condition" become a thing of the past... we're america's health insurance companies. supporting bipartisan reform that congress can build on. bret: finally tonight, we have brought you a number of stories here about companies cutting back, slashing jobs, changing the way they do business because of the state of the economy. we have an amazing documentary unit here at fox, putting together detailed hour-long programs on single issues, or historical figures. but we have noticed lately other documentary productions on other networks seem to be cutting a lot of corners. >> >> and now pbs presents looking for lincoln. there he is. ♪ bret: and that's "special report" for this time. the only place g